Where the Light Fell by Philip Yancey–Book Review

I’ve read many books by Philip Yancey, and he is an excellent writer. This one also did not disappoint, but it is a little different. It’s Yancey’s personal memoir of his childhood, youth, and how he came to faith, and after reading it you will understand why so much of his writing is focused on the themes of suffering, pain and grace.

Philip and his brother were raised by their mother after their father died of polio. His parents had hoped to be missionaries, and his mother remained devout. She told her sons that she had “dedicated” them to God, just as Hannah in the Bible gave her child Samuel to the Lord. She wanted them to become missionaries, fulfilling the desire she had been unable to accomplish in her own life. As a consequence, when they failed to measure up to her expectations, she was disappointed and behaved in ways that left them feeling angry and rejected.

Although Philip attended a Bible college, he saw himself as a rebel and outsider. He could not embrace his mother’s extremely legalistic approach to God, and comes close to rejecting Christianity altogether. However, eventually, he has his own conversion experience and comes to know Christ in a whole new way. Even as he rejects his mother’s viewpoint, he tries to understand, forgive, and encourage her to reconcile with his brother.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. It bogged down in places, but overall is a very honest, vulnerable and well-written spiritual autobiography.

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

For more book reviews see

Duty of Delight (the Diaries of Dorothy Day) edited by Robert Ellsberg –Book Review

The Gravity of Joy by Angela Williams Gorrell–Book Review

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa Terkeurst–Book Review

Grown-Up Faith

I can’t fairly call this post a book review because I started reading a book called Grown-Up Faith by Kevin Myers and didn’t finish it.  Not because it’s a bad book, but simply because after the first few chapters, I didn’t seem to be learning anything new.  I actually would recommend it for a small group, especially one with newer Christians, to read and discuss together.  At the end of each chapter, there is a summary about “Grown-Up Faith in Action” and some chapters in the Bible to read before tackling the next chapter.  These passages take the reader from Genesis through Revelation, giving a good overview of the Bible and its’ message.

Grown-up Faith: The Big Picture for a Bigger Life by [Myers, Kevin]

I did like the premise explained by the author at the very beginning.  Here it is:

“A grown-up faith requires the involvement of the whole person.  It doesn’t come from half measures.  We can’t be half-in and expect whole results.”

If we want to be mature Christians, we must engage our mind (Biblical knowledge), our heart (spiritual intimacy with God) and our will (holy obedience).  How many of us stop at some point in this process?  Or develop only one in one area, ignoring the others?  This can lead to several problems such as:

  • Intellectualism:  Biblical knowledge without any real relationship with God or obedience to His Word
  • Emotionalism:  A relationship with God without knowledge of the Bible and obedience
  • Legalism:  Obedience to the Bible’s “rules” without an understanding of the full meaning of the gospel or spiritual intimacy with God

Individuals and even denominations can fall into the trap of being less than whole Christians because they neglect some areas, or overemphasize one.  My big take-away is something I’ve heard for years at Via de Cristo retreats:

There is no Christian life without Christian action

And it might be added, that action must spring from a correct motivation — one that flows out of a heart-felt relationship with Christ and a true knowledge of His teachings.

This book gives us all something to think about.  On which area am I (and possibly my church) weak?  I would say the Lutherans with whom I’m most familiar, lean toward intellectualism.  We know our Scripture well, but don’t always have a true hunger for Christ and obedience to His Word.  We know we’re saved by grace, isn’t that enough?  Well, it is and it isn’t.  True grace will lead us into true relationship and true obedience. Wherever you find yourself, go one step further.  Grow up in your faith.